We blocked off an entire day for our visit to Pompeii, which is about a 45 minute drive from Sorrento. We knew we would spend most of the day walking around in the heat, so we made sure we fueled up with the amazing breakfast buffet at Hotel Excelsior. Their buffet is so well-known that apparently people come here to have it even if they’re not staying at the hotel.

Breakfast at Hotel Excelsior

So many pastries!

My favorite breakfast pastry was probably the torta di cioccolato, which I thought tasted slightly like marzipan. I kept going for it at every breakfast buffet we tried. It turns out I was correct, because the recipes I’ve seen (like this one from Mario Batali), use ground almonds.

Their tiny individual-sized butter dishes were super adorable


Their fruit tarts were overflowing with fresh looking produce


Breakfast room


Breakfast room


View from the breakfast room


They had a pianist playing during breakfast



The drive to Pompeii was not bad at all. We got there around lunch time, but were still full from the buffet, so we bought our tickets and went in immediately. It was verrry hot and verrrry humid, but it was all worth it to see these structures that have been preserved for so long. In case you haven’t heard or read about this at some point, Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD, killing everyone in the city but preserving everything. There’s actually a small exhibition of artifacts from Pompeii at the Franklin Institute in Philly, in case you’re interested, but not quite willing to spend the money to fly to Italy. If you’re more into movies loosely based on actual events, you should watch out for the movie Pompeii in 2014, starring Kit Harington (aka Jon Snow in Game of Thrones).

Our day was spent sweating profusely and staring in awe at the ruins. Most of the artifacts from Pompeii were moved to a museum in Naples, but you can still see so much of the city.

Gladiators’ Barracks

I thought it was kind of funny that when we peeked into these little doors that looked like they were dressing rooms, they were actually housing what looked like servers (as in computers).


We subtly hung around a tour group and listened to a guide talk about how this entire row of structures was used for bars and restaurants. You could still see the holes used for stoves in some of them.

A tour guide for a Korean group started singing something in an operatic voice at the amphitheatre, and his voice made it all the way to where I was taking this photo.

This bit of art was inside a small house.

This small cement bed was also inside the house.

There were remnants of what used to be wells and fountains everywhere.

Temple of Apollo


Temple of Jupiter


Mike and the Temple of Jupiter






Me sweating it out in Pompeii

Some areas were blocked off for preservation, but we could take a peep at them through bars.

Mike in one of the houses


The way out was very green, and very beautiful. We hung around for a bit and chugged our bottles of water before finally heading back to Sorrento.


Outside the amphitheatre

Hotel Excelsior

Back at the hotel in Sorrento, we cooled off in our room to recover from all the walking at Pompeii

We went for a short swim as well.

Then I ordered some coffee and we enjoyed the view from the main balcony of the hotel. You can see the hazy outline of Mt. Vesuvius from there.

There are actually some luxury apartments that people own inside the hotel grounds. We discussed how amazing it would be to own one of these apartments for a summer home, and be able to stay in Sorrento and ferry out to Positano, Capri, and the other gorgeous towns of the Amalfi Coast anytime you want.

Ristorante Parucchiano La Favorita
Corso Italia, 71
80067 Sorrento – Napoli Italia

For dinner we decided to try out Ristorante Parucchiano, which can be found on Corso Italia, one of the main shopping areas in Sorrento. The restaurant was founded by a seminarian (hence the name “Parucchiano”) who learnt cooking at an archbishop’s palace, in 1868. He passed it on to his nephew, who then passed it on to his son. Parruchiano is another garden restaurant (extremely popular in the Amalfi coast), which has several different rooms, perfect for events such as wedding receptions (they were actually prepping part of the place for one when we got there).

The restaurant was lovely, and a lot more comfortable than Giardini di Tasso from the night before, but we were a bit disappointed with the meat courses. As per usual, there were lemon trees everywhere.


For his pasta course, Mike had the candele (large macaroni) with meat rolle in tomato sauce. He described it as spicy and delicious.


I had some paccheri (large pasta) with a tomato and clam sauce. This was fantastic, and just proved even more to me that seafood is the way to go in the Amalfi coast.

For his meat course Mike had the pork chop in white wine sauce. As you can see, it didn’t look that appetizing, and I believe he wasn’t that impressed.

I ordered the “fried marrow” which turned out to be zucchini, and in case you didn’t know, I hate zucchini. Major disappointment (though I can’t really blame this on them).

I also ordered the fried homemade pork sausage, which was soooo disappointing. I would take premio sausage over this any day, which is a depressing thought.

Overall, Parruchiano really wasn’t bad. I think the problem was that we ordered the wrong meat dishes.

As we walked back to the hotel, we passed by this guy, who was taking tips like your usual street performers in Times Square or  Battery Park. I thought his costume was pretty cool though, so I gave him a euro so I could take this photo.

We walked around Corso Italia for a bit, window shopping and looking for a place to get dessert.

The main square right in front of our hotel

After realizing there were no bakeries open within walking distance, we ended up just going back to the hotel and getting their lemon cream cakes again. They were decorated differently this time, so we felt ok about ordering the same thing.

We added a cheese plate for good measure.

We noticed after our meal that the air conditioning was not working in our room, so they upgraded us to a suite for free. It had a garden view, but boy was it much bigger. We certainly had no complaints about the new room. This was probably the most exhausting day of our trip, but I would do it all over again.

Related Posts:
Not Bored in Rome, Italy, Day 1: Isa Hotel, Piazza Navona, The Pantheon, and Ad Hoc Restaurant
Not Bored in Rome, Italy, Day 2: St. Peter’s Square, The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and Food Shopping!
Not Bored in The Amalfi Coast, Italy: Positano
Not Bored in the Amalfi Coast, Italy: Capri
Not Bored in Italy: Sorrento

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